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Author Topic: Space Thread  (Read 174029 times)

Starver

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3105 on: January 22, 2021, 02:30:35 pm »

There was the harpooning test early last year (if I didn't post it here, probably riffing on the phrase "we're whalers on the moon!", then I know I meant to), and other controlled remote contact/grappling of one of other kind.

There were even worries that some of those Russian satellites that got a bit close to US ones weren't even going to threaten them with destruction (self-kinetic attack, or by detonation) but actually close quarters to 'capture' them, for unknown further purposes.

The big problem is that the cost-to-orbit for a 'recovery' unit to get there is not trivial, and risks leaving its own debris. Maybe smart cube-sats packed into 'spare' launch-fairing space might be a solution, especially to persuade the de-/re-orbitting of a predecessor of the one being sent up, being not (relatively, in both orbital parameters and position) far off from where the new one is being stationed, so can be set to 'drift' over at leisure before docking (clamping on) and firing retros in lieu of the old one that had ceased to be able to for whatever reason.
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TomJo

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3106 on: January 26, 2021, 08:20:42 am »

Nevertheless, I think risks like the ones you described are taken into account when developing such devices. Although, maybe I'm wrong.
Yes, now there is no significant financial incentive for such developments.
But still, some companies are working on it.
Taking into account the above factors, it is possible that in the future they will look for other ways to solve this problem. For example, reusable satellites with a controlled descent.
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LordBaal

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3107 on: January 26, 2021, 08:54:29 am »

I say we give the ISS astronauts a shotgun, let them roll down a window and start blowing old sats out of orbit, getting a bonus payment for every one they manage to put down.
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Starver

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3108 on: January 26, 2021, 11:54:28 am »

"I say we land and nuke the entire orbit from ground level. It's the only way to be sure!"
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TomJo

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3109 on: January 27, 2021, 06:19:08 am »

"I say we land and nuke the entire orbit from ground level. It's the only way to be sure!"

I like the idea. But laser cannons are better. So that there are no fragments left. Otherwise, it is ineffective to remove the fragments, leaving even more fragments. Or maybe we should just think about self-degradable materials?
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voliol

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3110 on: January 27, 2021, 06:52:14 am »

What kind of materials self-degrade in oxygen-free environments, and are sturdy enough to build satellites out of? This is a genuine question, I have very little knowledge in material science.

Starver

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3111 on: January 27, 2021, 10:00:19 am »

Interestingly, though it does not answer the above question[1], there was talk about a month ago about using wood in satellite construction. Though that doesn't solve many of the problems some people thought it might.

[1] Because, really, nothing answers the above question[2] unless you go for some sort of exotic material made of... let's say... baryonic matter tuned to near simultaneously undergo its proton-decay shortly after the extremely well-planned lifetime of the mission has completed.

[2] Nothing self-contained. I suppose theoretically you could send up a small tank of acid capable of eating away exactly the whole of the vehicle into liquidised then gaseated molecules that quickly disperse to become nothing more than a neutralised cloud of vapour upon a command to the pump/valve... Except that the acid-tank/valve (and maybe the pipework, though that could be cleverly just resistant enough) wouldn't dissolve/disperse (otherwise it would from the moment of filling) so you need another strategy there... maybe cryogenically stabilised low-MP/BP, but acid-proofing, wax kept in check by the fluids held to it by the acid-susceptible exterior.  ...if manufactured in orbit, I suppose you could just freeze-cast your 'wax-sat', or other cryogenically-stable structure/etc, coat with foil as you fill with your supercool fluid and plug with the small 'charge' that (connected to the minimal and 'spaghetti-distributed' active components) you could later command to pop, release the coolant that remains (doubtless you'd need a boil-valve anyway) so that eventually the spaghetti is revealed and disentangles into a form that drifts free of itself... although how you'd make sure that all surviving useful components are effectively less damaging than a paint-chip, all across the orbital cross-section of the debris field (until retarded into the atmosphere or blown away by solar wind) I'll leave you to work out. Mercury used as the primary conductive material? How does that behave in vacuum pressures, at various degrees kelvin?
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MrRoboto75

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3112 on: January 27, 2021, 12:57:34 pm »

If you have enough storage mass/volume for some sort of acid bomb to melt the entire satellite, couldn't that space just be a fuel tank with enough deltaV to deorbit the satellite?
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Starver

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3113 on: January 27, 2021, 01:21:47 pm »

But that might explode and create an orbital hazard!
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MonkeyHead

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3114 on: January 27, 2021, 01:35:03 pm »

If you have enough storage mass/volume for some sort of acid bomb to melt the entire satellite, couldn't that space just be a fuel tank with enough deltaV to deorbit the satellite?

Swapping a satellite for a glob of metal salts, hydrogen gas, and feck knows what other resulting compounds seems somehow worse.
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bloop_bleep

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3115 on: January 27, 2021, 02:04:53 pm »

If you have enough storage mass/volume for some sort of acid bomb to melt the entire satellite, couldn't that space just be a fuel tank with enough deltaV to deorbit the satellite?

Swapping a satellite for a glob of metal salts, hydrogen gas, and feck knows what other resulting compounds seems somehow worse.

I think MrRoboto75 was arguing for instead of an acid dispenser, the use of a fuel tank that could deorbit the satellite.
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LordBaal

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3116 on: January 27, 2021, 02:47:21 pm »

What if satelites start being designed with recuperation in mind? Like, the last year of its service life it manouver to be recaptured to an orbiting space dump truck?
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I'm curious as to how a tank would evolve. Would it climb out of the primordial ooze wiggling it's track-nubs, feeding on smaller jeeps before crawling onto the shore having evolved proper treds?
My ship exploded midflight, but all the shrapnel totally landed on Alpha Centauri before anyone else did.  Bow before me world leaders!

wierd

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3117 on: January 27, 2021, 02:57:32 pm »

They already ARE-- the dumptruck is "earth's atmosphere"
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MonkeyHead

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3118 on: January 27, 2021, 03:15:30 pm »

If you have enough storage mass/volume for some sort of acid bomb to melt the entire satellite, couldn't that space just be a fuel tank with enough deltaV to deorbit the satellite?

Swapping a satellite for a glob of metal salts, hydrogen gas, and feck knows what other resulting compounds seems somehow worse.

I think MrRoboto75 was arguing for instead of an acid dispenser, the use of a fuel tank that could deorbit the satellite.

Yeah, quoted the wrong post. Whoops.
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Madman198237

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Re: Space Thread
« Reply #3119 on: January 27, 2021, 04:09:48 pm »

Right now most satellites are designed to just deorbit themselves when their service life is up. It's usually easier. Well, deorbit or move to a "graveyard orbit" where they're not in anybody's way.

Recycling them sounds cool and all, but the materials in a satellite aren't worth all that much compared to the cost of deorbiting them safely, as opposed to deorbiting them such that they burn up in the atmosphere.
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